Monday, January 23, 2012

Bite on Kulinarya: A Filipino Culinary showdown

Culinary showdown stage
My first food event that I attended for 2012 and I'm glad it's all about Filipino food. There was a lot of Lechon, Calamansi, Longganisa and Pork BBQ. There's definitely a lot of food and my $20 food coupons were all worth it. Actually I would've been satisfied with fewer coupons since there's a lot of food. UFC was giving out free tastes of Lechon, Filipino spaghetti, Paksiw and Lumpias. There was also a sampling of Pili nuts which I'm excited about. Based from the people behind it, it would be sold at Whole foods and Trader Joes this year!

Secret ingredient: Pili nut

What I like about this event is that it showcases the different Filipino culinary enthusiasts whether they are amateurs or professionals. There was a cook off between the newbies and the pros. It's a multi-course cooking competition that kinda reminded me of Iron Chef where the secret ingredient is Filipino Food. Winners were: Arlene Nunez for the amateurs and Albert Rivera for the Pros.

There was also tastings from different Filipino restaurants, food trucks, food vendors, etc. The only thing I didn't like is the limited space. It was really packed inside and it's hard to move around, get your food and eat. I'm glad though that there's such events like these that highlights the Filipino cuisine and let the Bay Area people taste and enjoy it.

Food vendors

Cutting up the calamansi bars (Filipino version of the lemon bars)
The 2nd Annual Kulinarya event was held at the Carnelian by the Bay which is conveniently located at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. There was a Pili nut presentation at the beginning of the event. Restaurants like Intramuros, Tastebuds, Dampa and Patio Filipino were there to sample their dishes. Food coupons were sold for $5 each or $20 for 5. I have to say, the most flavorful dish I had was Naked chorizo's longganisa tacos. It's "Bacolod" style longganisa without the casing topped with tomato salsa fresca, queso fresco, cilantro dressing and jalapenos. It was really good! Tastebud's lechon wraps were okay too but I wish they put something to cut through the fat because it was just minced lechon on a tortilla with a garlic hoisin sauce. I feel like it's missing something.

Here are the photos of some of the food from the event!

Cheese rolls

Chicken pot pie

"Longganisa" Chorizo tacos


Bangus sisig

Binagoongan rice


cutting up the crispy skin

shiny Pig

Lechon wrap with Hoisin garlic sauce

Seafood Paella

Maja Blanca
 Ramar Foods


Warm Tocino Spinach salad

Dampa Restaurant
"not so crispy" chicken skin


I fully support events like these and I wish that there would be more events that showcase the Filipino food around the bay area. I think filipino food has a lot to offer and it shouldn't be just about the lechon or fried pork bellies or the lumpias and adobo. It's a diverse fusion cuisine that needs more exploration. Looking forward to more exciting Filipino food this year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Almond Leche Flan

First post for 2012

Leche Flan is a popular Filipino dessert which you'll probably catch on every Filipino gathering together with the normal Lumpias and Pancit. I've made Leche Flan before using vanilla extract but this time I'm using almond extract just for a different flavor combination. This recipe is from the book "The Filipino-American Kitchen" which I got this year, thanks to the wifey! I guess she's saying that I'll cook more so she can eat and taste it! :) My future recipe posts will probably be inspired by this book. That's the direction I'm going to anyways. I wanna cook more Filipino food using local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible but still have that Filipino flavor that I'm used to.

Flan is a perfect party dessert since it's best made in advance. The flavor develops more once you refrigerate it for about a day. If you are making this for a party, it's best to make it the night before. I used a combination of a mini loaf bread pans and ramekins. It depends on how you want to serve it but if you want a personal flan then use a ramekin.

Makes 6 servings (4 oz. ramekins)

For the caramel:

Melt 1 cup of granulated sugar on a saucepan over medium heat. It takes about 10 minutes to melt. Make sure stir and break any sugar that builds up. Place on ramekins and make sure the bottom is evenly coated. Cool completely.

For the Flan:

1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
1/2 cup of sweet condensed milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (If you want a stronger almond flavor use 1 tsp.)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Combine eggs, evaporated and condensed milk, half and half and almond extract on a large mixing bowl. Whisk until incorporated.
3. Strain mixture to individual ramekins with the cooled caramel.
4. Place ramekins inside a large baking dish and pour hot water inside until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
5. Loosely cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1 hr.
6. Take out the baking dish and check if the surface is set and it jiggles slightly when you tap the ramekins. If not, bake for another 15 minutes. (Mine took about 1 hour and 15 minutes total).
7. Let it cool for 15 minutes then wrap it with foil and put in the fridge overnight.
8. To serve: run a knife around the ramekin to separate the flan from the mold. Place ramekins in individual plates and invert it to the plate. Tap a few times to make sure that bottom releases the flan. Pour any excess caramel into the flan and the plate.
9. Enjoy! :)